Teachers are good at a lot of things. Multitasking. Being creative even when resources are scarce and working conditions are garbage. Squirreling away enough masking tape to last a millennia. It’s easy for teachers to talk about these things because we’re quick to share what we do well, what works, and what benefits our students. Something we’re not so good at? Talking about our own insecurities.
We don’t have nearly enough honest conversations about what scares us. Our vulnerable points. The triggers for our self-esteem. The mean things we tell ourselves that we assume everyone else already knows.
Some might say, “Things are so tough in education right now. Why focus on the negative?” I’ve found again and again that some of the times I’ve felt the most seen, the most supported, and the most encouraged have been times where someone I admired shared something vulnerable and I realized Oh my gosh, I’m not alone! Sometimes talking about our insecurities creates opportunities for others to step in and correct our thinking or lovingly point us toward support. Sometimes it will rope us all into a much-needed collective belly laugh. And sometimes, just the act of saying our insecurities out loud (or typing them) takes some of the weight off.
Here are some teacher insecurities we rounded up to make you—wherever you are in your journey—feel a little less alone.
- “I think every teacher is insecure that we are not doing enough for our kids.”
- “That every time I get called to the principal’s office, I’m going to be fired for naively saying or doing something that offended a student or parent.”
- “That no matter how many amazing experiences I have in my classroom with my students … I’ll always just be a test score.”
- “That I could not protect them should there be a lockdown or some type of emergency. I would always try to prepare them and go over every scenario … but at night I would wonder if it was enough. What else could I do? I was lucky to never have had to experience it, but in the wake of all that’s happened, I now know I could not have done any more than those teachers did at Uvalde. It’s truly a teacher’s biggest fear.”
- “I came to teaching late and feel like my age is a hindrance. Also, I’m introverted, so building relationships is very hard for me.”
- “Farting during class. I can pretty much wing everything with panache, but that would remain indelible in the memory of all who bore witness.”
- “I know that comparison is the thief of joy, but I can’t help but look at other teachers and think I’m doing poorly or failing my students because I’m not up-to-date on current learning strategies, or they didn’t do well on exams and somehow it’s because of my lack of teaching experience stateside. I’m great at building relationships with my students, but I always think I’m failing them whenever I hear they didn’t pass or didn’t understand something.”
- “Typing live in front of them on the Zoom call or on the smartboard, such a stress!”
- “That I don’t have good classroom management because my students and I laugh and have fun while learning.”
- “Never knowing where you really stand with administration.”
- “That I’m going to trip on a backpack and faceplant!”
- “Financial insecurities. Same as every teacher.”
- “That my own children will feel they are less important than my students.”
- “People thinking my job is easy. When someone says, ‘Those who can’t, teach.’”
I don’t know about you, but I can safely say that I’ve felt all (or at least part of all) of these insecurities at some point in my teaching career. I wish I had big enough arms and enough time to give all of these teachers a hug, but since I don’t, let’s all just imagine it.
Oh, and my biggest teacher insecurity? Leaving any kind of voicemail ever. Every single one is like, “Hi, this is my Mrs. Treleaven. Hahaha. Not ‘my’ Mrs. Treleaven, sorry. Whew. OK. Just wanted to check in about Luca. He … oh my gosh. I don’t remember what I was going to tell you. Completely lost my train of thought. Hahaha. Please enjoy this voicemail and never mention it again. I’ll just email you.”
Do you have any funny (or serious) teacher insecurities to share? Let us know in the comments!
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